Texas law prohibiting corporate campaign contributions violates the First Amendment. King Street Patriots, et al., v. Texas Democratic Party, et al., No. 15-0320 (Tex. 2017).
Texas’ outright ban on corporate campaign contributions violates the First Amendment, the Texas Supreme Court has held. While the state may at times regulate political speech, at this time the only justification for restriction would appear to be quid pro quo corruption, i.e., political favors in exchange for contributions. While Texas law requires that Supreme Court precedent be followed until overruled, the case relied upon, Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont, 539 U.S. 146 (2003) cannot be reconciled with the Court’s later decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 134 S. Ct. 1434 (2014). As quoted in Texas’ published concurrence, “When individuals with a common goal incorporate under state law, government cannot exact as the price of incorporation those individuals’ First Amendment rights.” Citizens United, supra, at 351.